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By Eluxe Staff
There’s much beauty to be found in nature, from tiny, hopping baby bunnies to perfect, glistening wild strawberries; from creamy smooth ivory to crusty, brilliant coral.
Unfortunately, many jewellery consumers in Asia think nothing of turning the latter two items into jewellery. This notion absolutely appalled Singaporean jeweller Yilin Choo, who decided to create an ecologically friendly jewellery line that would never touch these natural but endangered animal products, but would instead reflect them in the texture and form of her recycled silver and gold accessories.
Choo even created an Alternative to Coral project that aims to raise awareness of coral conservation. ‘We wanted to communicate that while coral was beautiful, it needn’t be worn in order to appreciate it,’ she says. Instead, she offers consumers ‘pieces based (on the shapes of) actual coral species, embellished with precious gemstones.’
It’s not just coral that Choo imitates in her designs; she’s inspired by everything from the delicacy of spider webs to the secrets hidden inside oyster shells. Her metals twist and curl like new branches in springtime; her gems shine like dewdrops on rose petals. The uniqueness of her style has won her brand numerous international design awards, and it has been exhibited at Paris Fashion Week and featured extensively in the press, including The New York Times and The Financial Times.
But what really stands out for us are her eco-credentials. Choo works with highly skilled artisans in South-East Asia that come from a rich history of wood and jade carving, silver-smithing and other fine jewellery techniques. Almost all of her metals are recycled and all of her gems come from ‘small, artisanal mines,’ making hers one of the most eco-friendly, high-end boutique jewellery ranges around.
Recently, Choo Yilin showed her social conscience too at the launch of a new collection in London’s Jewellery Week that refers to the Peranakan culture of South East Asia. Crafted by Cambodian artisans who are part of a social enterprise collective, the range uses “up-cycled” wood, jadeite, gemstones and bronze to fashion rustic rings and bracelets with a definitively luxe touch.
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